Friday, September 25, 2009

Robin(n) Hood - Pretty decent!! -

I tried to watch this movie on its release day, that is yesterday, but had to go back without tickets because of the crowd that gathered to see the supposedly new-found 'Superstar of Malayalam Cinema' Prithviraj's new movie with the hitmaker Joshiy. So I could watch the movie only today, after hearing some not-so-good opinions from many people who watched the movie on first day. The crowd was lesser, but the show was house full by the time the movie began. Prithviraj's introduction was greeted with wolf whistles and huge rounds of applause, something that you usually find during the introduction of either Mohanlal or Mammootty. So this guy actually has got a fan base now, I was thinking. If he can realize what he has got now, and work towards improving his acting skills, he can definitely be a superstar in the coming years. I am not a fan of this guy and havent liked him in many films except a few. But it is good that a younger actor can actually achieve a fan base in Kerala. Whether he is worthy of that or not, only time will decide. Now, lets get to the movie.

The title of the movie says Robinn Hood with an extra 'n'. I was wondering why they did that. But then Joshi renamed himself as Joshiy, so this one wasnt surprising. The title sequence of the movie, though done well, was a cheap copy of the Vodafone ZooZoo ads. Why would anyone copy from an immensely popular visual which has been watched by all, and show them an imitation again? People obviously wouldnt like it. Even if they wanted to copy something, they should have copied from something which was good, but less popular. The movie is the story of a thief who robs money from the ATMs of one particular bank. There is a private investigator who is appointed to investigate the crime and also an Assistant Commissioner who is in charge of this case. The cat and mouse game that follows is what makes up most parts of this movie and its story.

Prithviraj had a great opening for his last film 'Puthiya Mukham', which went on to do good business as well. He had nothing much to perform in that action film, except to give the screen presence of an action hero. Here also, he is required to do the same, along with showing some technical wizardry as well. He plays Venkatesh Iyer, an ex-IITian, who teaches at an entrance coaching centre in the morning and then loots ATMs in the night. He doesnt really have to portray great emotional changes and all in this cop & thief story. But it is his star presence and good looks, which is made use of, in this movie. He does a good job in displaying that. But in one scene, where he is required to emote, during the flashback, his acting is not very appreciable. He makes it look melodramatic, by shouting out his dialogues (something which he always does in such scenes). That was a bad scene, especially because of his acting.

Though the film is about Prithviraj and tells his story, it gives almost equal importance to private investigator Alexander Felix, played by Narein. Narien has got a good role after a long time in Malayalam after a very short appearance in Bhagyadevatha. He was plain horrible in his last outing as hero, Minnaminnikkoottam. But in this movie his performance graph varies between average and good. He plays this casual, chilled out investigator who has a strong tendency to flirt with any female he sees. His character is fun and brings in a touch of humour to the narrative. His interactions with the female characters in the movie are funny. His voice was dubbed by Sharath, the well known television actor. Sharath's voice suits Narein very well. (Like in Achuvinte Amma & Classmates). He almost gets as much screen-time as Prithviraj, and does a decent job. I was wondering what, the first choice for this role, Ranjith (director) would have done if he was the one doing this role.

Jayasurya is wasted. I think he agreed to do this role, just to be a part of a Joshi film. He has a very short role, something similar to a guest appearance. But he does a good job in the limited number of scenes he has, as a serious police officer. He is the better actor among the three, but is hardly given any scope to perform. Bhavana is turning into the babe of Malayalam Cinema. Her introduction was also received with lots of whistles and applause. She plays the system head of the bank, who is on deputation from Mumbai, sent to find details about the robberies. She has nothing much to do other than look good. She shows a little more skin than usual in this movie. She looks good, but has to lose some more weight to be actually called a babe. Samvrutha's character was an unwanted addition. She plays a student who is fascinated by her lecturer, played by Prithviraj. She does bring in some light moments, but they do nothing to take the story forward, and end up as speed-breakers. Her character is conveniently forgotten when the story nears its climax. She doesnt look as good as she usually does also. Biju Menon plays the villain's role with no surprises. He was plain okay. Hope he changes his acting styles, before he gets typecast in similar roles. Salimkumar and Jaffer Idukki are added for comic relief. Salimkumar does evoke some laughter. The lesser said about Jaffer Idukki, the better. The person who took him into films should be killed. This disgusting comedian is even more vulgar than Suraaj. Hope Joshi does not take people like him in his future movies.

The screenplay by Sachi-Sethu (who previously wrote the stupid, but extremely entertaining Chocolate) is full of plot-holes. I went in for the movie ready to forgive all such plot-holes, so I didnt pay much attention to detail, as I just wanted to be entertained. The technical details regarding the ATM robberies are quite funny, but told in a believable way. The movie managed to hold my attention till the end with some predictable, but interesting twists here and there. But what makes this mediocre script work, at least to a certain extent, is Joshi's able execution. He is still the best director we have in our state to make action thrillers. His talent in making multistarrers is well-known. Here also, he gets decent performances from the cast, and manages to engage the audience for most of the running time of the movie.

Shaji is one of the good cinematographers we have and he does a good job yet again. Ranjan Abraham's editing was neat. Nothing extraordinary, but kept the pace of the movie intact. The music by M Jayachandran was very average, with most of the songs sounding like cheap copies of Hindi and English songs. This is not Jayachandran's kind of music. He should stick to making melodies. The first song was shot well which showed the growing friendship among Prithviraj, Narein and Bhavana. Many shots were obviously inspired from Dostana. The duet song with Samvrutha and Prithviraj was totally unnecessary and it looked really funny too. Prithviraj was trying to do dance steps like Surya, and fails completely. As I said above, Samvrutha wasnt looking her best too. The third song, a party song is a mish-mash of many Bollywood numbers including a song from Race. It is not necessary to ape Bollywood to look cool. Our people should try making some cool visuals for our songs on their own. Almost half the movie is shot in Ramada resorts, most of which we have already seen in Sagar Alias Jacky and 2 Harihar Nagar. It is not really a new location now. The houses and the apartments used in the movie are also so frequently used in all our movies, that it has become really repetitive. Kochi has much more nice locations and houses. Filmmakers should utilize them rather than sticking to the usual locations.

On the whole, it is a pretty decent entertainer from Joshi and the young guys. Far better than Prithviraj's previous release, Puthiya Mukham. This movie has the Joshi signature all over it, though it lacks the punch of usual Joshi movies. Maybe its because it is the first time that Joshi is working with younger stars like Prithviraj, Narien and Jayasurya, as he always makes superstar movies. I think Joshi decided to make this movie with these guys because he might have felt bad of the fact that they didnt get to play any significant role in his magnum-opus Twenty 20 wanted to give these guys a chance. If you are ready to ignore the technical plot-holes of the narrative and do not mind killing some time checking out this film, you can definitely spend your money on this. I wasnt disappointed because I didnt have any major expectation from this movie other than that it was a Joshi film. But the movie certainly proved all the bad opinions I heard about it, wrong. Joshi films have rarely disappointed me. The only two films I havent liked of the director are Praja and July 4. (I havent seen Dubai). Other than these, I have enjoyed almost all the other movies by Joshi. This one also was pretty decent. The youth who turned the below average Puthiya Mukham into a hit, may like this movie too. If this movie becomes a hit, Prithviraj would consolidate his position as a star. But he has to work on his acting skills and improve quite a lot before he can actually become a superstar.

Rating - 3/5

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